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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

#97: Cracks In The Foundation

I talk a lot about how stable and safe marriage feels, and how your partner is home personified. He or she can patch up old heart wounds,  love you even when you're just no good, talk honestly about tough stuff like infidelity and death, and support you through the worst cases of diarrhea. Marriage is the incredible opportunity to CHOOSE your family and your firm foundation.


A crazy string of little disasters has happened to my family and best friends in the last few weeks that have made me realize that any home is susceptible to cracks in its foundation:
  •  My friend's mother might only have a few more weeks to live.
  • A relative broke up with his long-term girlfriend - a woman who I'd hoped would be married into our family one day.
  • There's major infidelity and pain in some of the most storybook romances that I know of.
  • There's aging, serious illness, and mental disorders galore in my family. People change, people are forced into the role of caretaker, and people don't live forever.
No family can ever stay the same - people's needs change, people's ability to care for you is inconsistent, people leave, people are replaced, and people die. Scary but true.

So when I write on this blog about all of the stability that marriage and family life offer, I speak more of an intention rather than reality. Because it is virtually impossible for any person or group of people to be all that you want and need them to be throughout the years. A family can't fight off disaster; being a family is merely a sincere intention that you and your loved ones will experience the worst and most brutal seasons of life together. And while this is pee-in-your-pants frightening, it's one of the most beautiful things human relationships have to offer.

So today I wait to hear if my friend's mom's surgery on her cancerous tumors will grant her a few extra years to live, or if the surgery is unsuccessful and she's left with just weeks. I sit and wait to see if my friends' and family members' marriages survive infidelity. I say goodbye to people I thought would be family forever.

These are the cracks in the foundation. This is the price we pay for loving. This is exactly the kind of life that my husband, Brian, *intends* to hold my hand through forever and ever. And I must find my happiness in that.


  1. Very well said. Keeping you and your loved ones in my prayers. HUGS

  2. A few weeks ago, shortly after my bridal shower, I found out that a close friend of mine, who I thought had an unflappable marriage, was divorce-bound and had been for some time. The reason? (Or, at least, the final straw?) Infidelity, which involved another close friend. I felt partly responsible, too, as I had introduced these friends. This explained why both had declined the wedding invite (which, actually, hurt a lot when I realized this, but that's another issue).

    This is not exactly something someone wants to learn just a few weeks before her wedding. I found myself in quite a bit of a crisis upon learning this, asking why - why would my friend do such a horrible thing to his new wife (who had just had a baby)? Why would my other friend use such poor judgment? Why did both of them feel the need to keep it a secret from me, when it was clear that the proverbial cat was out of the bag, anyway? I think the last one was the most painful - perhaps we were not as close as I thought?

    My husband tried to understand, but he was not as close with either friend as I was, and, quite frankly, he wasn't all that surprised by the news. It's hard to see the not-so-nice in the people whom you hold in high regard. He didn't understand why it ruffled me as much as it did. I'm not sure if the fact that we were getting married soon contributed to my feelings, or if that was just, well, not helping the situation.

    I think, in the meantime, I'm going through the five stages of grief. I'm still at anger, and I'm not sure when I'll get out of it. Yet, I encountered something today that reminded me of an inside joke with my friend and I, and I slid from anger to depressed, as there is little doubt that this friendship is going to slip away from me ... it already had started to, now I just had a tangible marker of this. Not to mention, I'm still not sure if I want to maintain this friendship, because I'm still very angry.

    That's unfair, I know.

    (Sorry I went off on such a tangent!)

  3. @ Steph - Thanks for your support as always. I'm feeling better about things. Sometimes you just have to get over the initial shock of change.

    @ irisira - Yikes, what a difficult situation. I can relate to you - I learned of someone's affair during my engagement and it totally gave me cold feet about marriage. It think that's pretty normal. Especially when it happens to people you love, you feel all kinds of emotions - you're confused, depressed for them, but also pretty pissed off. ("What the eff were you thinking, fool??")

    I understand also how hurtful it feels when friends turn down your wedding invitation for whatever reason. My husband struggled with this.

    But in your case I'm wondering if your friends' decline had less to do with how much they love you or more to do with their incredible amount of shame and embarrassment. It might seem hard to believe, but it's very possible that it has very little to do with you. The invitation could have been from someone in the family or from a Hollywood celebrity - they still would've said no. I know a TON of people who declined their friend's (even BEST FRIEND'S) invitation because they were ashamed about something or were hoping to avoid another guest. It sucks, but happens. :(

  4. You're right, Kim. I think it was more about their embarrassment than it had anything to do with me. It still sucks, though. The whole situation sucks.


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